Board Policy with Guidelines
Subject: Student Travel Policy
North Sanpete School District
Student Travel Policy
The North Sanpete School District Board of Education recognizes that experiences beyond the classroom may provide meaningful enrichment for student learning. The Board expects that all authorized field trips will have clear connections with the related curricular/co-curricular / extra-curricular program. Such connections must have meaningful, relevant and defensible justifications to support missed class time, cost, etc. and be in line with appropriate liability insurance. While student travel may include activities that are not part of the approved curriculum, it is understood that the general purpose of student travel is to supplement regular school educational programs. Extra-curricular trips include travel by academic, athletic, and performance teams; along with other school groups recognized for UHSAA meets, workshops; or other forms of state and national competition that enhance the participants’ skills and performance. All extra-curricular trips must also meet the criteria detailed below.
No student will be subjected to undue pressure to participate in school-sponsored travel activities. Non-participation in student travel may not result in loss of credit, reduction of grade, removal from a team or any other negative consequence to students.
Overnight travel for elementary and middle school students is discouraged and can only be approved by the Board of Education. An exception may be granted to an individual student or group that wins a competition supported by the district and qualifies for state or national competition.
The Board is concerned about the financial demands placed upon families with a child/children wishing to participate in student travel events. All school-sponsored activities are eligible for fee waivers for low-income students, however the overall trip cost must be met. The impact of fee waivers can be covered in any combination of the following: fund-raising, donations, levying additional costs on non-fee waiver students, and/or the costs would be absorbed by a school budget.
In an effort to protect overall financial impacts on families regarding student travel – along with all other impacts and concerns for travel – the superintendent/board reserves the right to limit costs, distances, etc. of requested student travel. In so doing, the superintendent/board may deny travel requests that would have excessive cost, undue loss of instructional time, minimal education value, etc.
Student Travel is defined in the following manner:
- Non-Overnight field trips are approved by the school principal, with the exception of games more than 150 miles from Mount Pleasant, which must be approved by the Board.
- Overnight instate trips are approved by the superintendent must cost less than $500 per student and not miss more than two days of school.
- Out of state travel must be approved by the Board in September and February board meeting. Applications must be completed and submitted two weeks prior to the board meeting. The board will also consider exceptions to the previously listed types of trips.
Though final numbers of students, exact costs, and other specifics may not be available for upcoming travel and /or field trip, travel requests needing approval from the Superintendent or Board of Education must be submitted prior to advertising or fundraising for the proposed excursion.
Parents/guardians must provide written consent for all travel. A parent/guardian consent form may be signed at the beginning of each school year giving permission for students to participate in all regularly scheduled local field trips. Overnight trips require a separate consent from that is specific to the particular trip. Representative students and parents should be involved in all phases of trip planning. A parent information meeting is required for overnight travel. The school must provide evidence of substantial support by members of the group and their parents prior to principal approval.
Overnight trip consent forms must include the nature of all of the activities in which the student will participate. They must also include permission to participate signature line(s), emergency contact telephone numbers, and permission to provide emergency medical care. All such documentation must be in hand not later than 24 hours prior to departure. The staff sponsor is required to take a copy of all such documents with him/her on the trip. A copy of this same documentation must be left at the school.
While some travel requests receive final approval by the Superintendent and/or Board of Education, all travel must first be approved and recommended by the principal after safety, supervision and educational justification have been verified.
When the principal is forwarding applications on to the superintendent and the board for approval, all criteria on the form must be clearly and defensibly addressed, and all appropriate signatures are to be in place. Changes to the event as outlined on the application form such as increase in cost per student, levying of additional fees, additional days of school missed, etc. must be resubmitted for approval prior to implementation of changes.
The principal and event sponsor must also be prepared to address concerns around testing schedules and fee waivers, in addition to all other aspects of this procedure.
No high school group may participate in more than two overnight trips during any school year, nor miss more than two school days on any one trip. This applies to school groups, not to individual students who may participate in approved overnight travel with multiple school groups. The two-day limit is waived for overnight trips emanating from qualification in state or national academic competitions namely, DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, Skills USA, HOSA, TSA, Central Utah Science and Engineering Fair. The Superintendent must approve this travel.
Supervision and Safety
When students travel, there shall be adequate and mature supervision to provide for the safety of the students. Students should never be left behind and or unsupervised while under the custody of the district.
Trip sponsors are required to develop complete itineraries, including daily 24-hour plans and activity listings. Also included in the documentation will be room assignments, code of conduct expectations, curfew requirements, and buddy groups. Assuming students will be bringing cell phones on the trip, a complete list of student and chaperone cell phone numbers will be compiled and available for chaperone use.
Trip sponsors will provide (and principals will ensure) enough supervision to assure the safety of students. While this supervision will vary across activities, the minimum supervision allowed will be one (1) chaperone to ten (10) students. If both male and female students will be attending the overnight trip, both male and female chaperones are required.
Care should be exercised in selecting adult supervisors. All trip chaperones are, by definition, volunteers and therefore must pass a fingerprint/background check. They should be persons of good report, a minimum of 21 years of age, preferably older. Chaperones should be the parents or teachers of the participating students. Other supervisors (if used) must be approved by the principal in advance. Older siblings of student participants in the trip are discouraged. Supervisors may not share private sleeping rooms, such as motel rooms, with students other than their own children.
The safety of participants is of primary concern when travel occurs. Schools are to provide clear safety instructions to students and chaperones prior to leaving for a travel experience and review safety instructions periodically during extended travel experiences. Travel planning should include consideration of weather conditions and provide for cancellation in the case of inclement weather conditions, potentially unsafe environment, etc. Should a trip be cancelled due to safety concerns, the school and/or district will not reimburse travelers for unrecoverable lost fees. Therefore, the district encourages travelers to secure cancellation insurance (at their own expense) to provide protection against possible trip cancellation. Except when taking school buses, all passengers will wear seat belts while traveling under the approval of North Sanpete School District.
Accidents, Emergencies and/or Student Discipline
In case of an emergency occurring during the trip the chaperone is authorized to make those adjustments necessary to insure the safety and wellbeing of the students and will immediately report the emergency to the principal of the school. All circumstances related to any accident will be documented and reported in writing to the district business administrator (risk management officer).
Academic and behavior standards shall be established prior to trip approval by the principal and published by the teacher on the approval form. Participants in any travel experience should be students in good academic and behavioral standing and approved for travel as per the published standards for the trip and outlined in this policy. Students who travel under the name of the school and adults who supervise that travel become role models for others and help establish and maintain the reputation of the school and district. Behavior and conduct of students and chaperones fall under the rules and policies for the school, district and State Code (Reference: Utah Code 53A-11-908), in addition to the specific standards adopted for the event. Members of the travel group who violate the behavior expectations outlined will be sent home from the travel experience and will travel home at their own expense.
Cost, Fee Waivers and Fundraising
The cost of travel shall be kept as low as reasonably possible without compromising the safety of the students and chaperones involved. No student at any grade level shall be denied participation due to lack of funds if the excursion takes place during the school day. For more extended student travel, students will be encouraged to participate in approved fund-raising projects. Trip sponsors are discouraged from levying an amount per student to cover chaperone costs.
Trip sponsors may be concerned about needing some funds while on the trip. If so, they must make arrangements to access funds in advance of the trip. All receipts and unused funds must be returned to the school secretary immediately after the conclusion of the trip.
All NSSD-approved trips are required by law to be eligible to all students regardless of a student’s ability to pay for the trip. Trip sponsors cannot deny students participation in the trip due to an inability of the student to meet the cost. For this reason, all trips should be designed to incur as little cost to students as possible. Per state law fee waiver students may be required to participate in fund raising activities.
All approved fundraising will be in accordance with district fundraising policy and procedure. Fundraising conducted for student-travel must be pre-approved by the principal. Individual students may not be assessed amounts to fundraise. However, general fundraisers may be held.
Transportation and Travel Arrangements
School travel, beyond walking from the school to the event, requires use of a district bus, district vehicle (driver must pass state risk management online test) or licensed public carrier. However, the student may travel with his/her own parent. No student of any age should travel anywhere alone with a staff member or parent, other than his or her own parent. Under no conditions is travel approved with student drivers. Students are never approved to drive other students to, from or during school-sponsored events. All commercial student travel arrangements must be booked through the contracted Utah state travel agency and in accordance with state travel regulations. Extended travel should not be initiated after 10:00 pm and should end prior to midnight, unless it takes place on a school bus or commercial carrier.
Non-School (Private) Travel
Non-School District (private) trips such as “senior parties” or “graduation” trips that take place after high school graduation or trips sponsored by staff or parent groups outside of the regular school calendar are not approved, sponsored, or otherwise endorsed by the School District. These trips are private, and/or commercial ventures and are not District “field trips.” There is no approval process since these are not school-sponsored trips, but the building principal must be notified, prior to any trip promotion on the school campus by any group or by a staff member at any time, of any independent private trip organized by a staff member and involving school district students. School communication systems, supplies, or equipment may not be used for the planning, promotion, or conduct of such trips.
The Board of Education respects the right of parents to take their own children to competitions or performances that are not approved by the Board or its designee. However, non-approved activities are not considered activities of North Sanpete School District and the district assumes no liability for these events. The use of the name or moniker of the district or its schools in fund raising, or in identifying supervisors who are district employees, is forbidden. All other activities or actions that imply district support of these events are also forbidden.
School employees are not to solicit students to participate in any commercial or non-school sponsored trip or excursion. Any staff member and/or parent group/organization conducting a non-District sponsored trip should state prominently on all correspondence and communications regarding the trip that:
- The trip is not a School District field trip and that the North Sanpete School District accepts no liability for the trip. Neither the name North Sanpete School District, nor the name of the school (except to identify the specific parent group sponsor), shall be used in correspondence or communications regarding the trip.
- The District is not responsible for any information, claims or representations promulgated to students and/or parents regarding the trip.
- The name of the parent group/organization sponsoring the trip must be clearly noted on all correspondence and communications.
- School uniforms are not permitted to be worn for non-district sponsored activities.
- Staff participating in a non-sponsored trip shall be responsible for assuring the following:
a. All handling of student money/funds will be by the sponsoring organization and collected outside of the instructional day, including lunch periods.
b. There shall be no participation in a trip during regularly scheduled school/work days.
c. Review the liability coverage of the sponsoring organization and consult with personal insurance company for additional coverage. The District’s liability insurance does not cover any participants, including students, staff or parents on any non-sponsored event.
d. Contracts/agreements are not to be signed by anyone acting as a representative of North Sanpete School District.
e. District employees will receive no compensation or expense reimbursements from the district.
f. Use of school facilities for planning meetings shall be in compliance with District facility use procedures.
g. Use of District equipment and other resources is not permitted.
h. Student participation must be voluntary and staff must avoid any actions that might otherwise appear to recommend or promote participation in the trip as related to the educational program.
While the district administration and Board of Education recognize the educational value of off-campus experiences, not all applications will be approved. The Board and Superintendent expect that any application for extended travel has sound educational justification and meets high district expectations.
Applications for extended travel are more likely to gain travel approval if:
- There is high educational value.
- The cost per student is not excessive
- Minimal school time is missed.
- There are not equivalent opportunities that are closer and less expensive.
- Safety concerns have been met and cleared.
- Adequate insurance is built into the plan.
- Sufficient student and parent support exists to make the trip a viable education experience and worth the expense.
- Advance planning is such that adequate time and methods exist to earn money for the trip.
- Fee-waiver students have the opportunity to participate in the trip and the school has adequate resources to cover the fee waivers.
- No pressure is placed on non-participating students who are members of the group.
- The group has been reasonable in its previous travel requests (location and cost) and has had success in previous travel (i.e., no problems).
- Students will be able to meet established and required school, state, and/or national testing schedules.
Legal References: Synopsis